PIERRE — The South Dakota Department of Tourism was recognized by the U.S. Travel Association at the 36th annual ESTO (Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations) Conference, held Aug. 17-20 in Austin, Texas. The Department’s “Great Faces, Great Places” marketing campaign received the Mercury Award for Printed Collateral at the conference’s yearly award ceremony.

“We are so honored to receive this prestigious award. The very best work from across the nation is submitted every year, so to come out on top is a huge honor,” says South Dakota Secretary of Tourism James Hagen. “This isn’t just a big win for us at the Department of Tourism. It’s a big win for the entire state of South Dakota.”

“Travelers have the entire world to choose from when picking a vacation destination, so developing outstanding marketing to attract visitors to South Dakota is essential,” stated Gov. Kristi Noem. “I am proud of our Department of Tourism’s innovative and exceptional work promoting South Dakota as a vacation destination.”

The South Dakota Department of Tourism created the winning print campaign in partnership with Lawrence & Schiller, a marketing and advertising agency based in Sioux Falls.

The judges noted the South Dakota Department of Tourism print piece “had a smart strategy, using data intelligence and real visitors’ own interests to sell the state.” They went on to note that “this was a very innovative campaign with great results, and a high number of impressions and bookings.”

“It’s such a privilege to promote South Dakota through our marketing efforts, which are critical in terms of generating buzz and driving tourism to the state,” Hagen added. “Having our print materials selected as the nation’s best speaks volumes about our team, our partners, and our efforts to promote South Dakota.”

The department was also one of three state finalists for the best integrated marketing campaign in the country with marketing budgets less than $10 million. The Mercury Awards celebrate excellence in destination marketing on the state level and are open to all U.S. state and territory tourism offices that are members of the U.S. Travel Association.

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